Organist, organ maker work in harmony in the Upper Valley - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Organist, organ maker work in harmony in the Upper Valley

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WOODSTOCK, Vt. -

The grand sound of the pipe organ fills the St. James Episcopal Church just off the green in Woodstock.

Sitting alone in the balcony, the organist, Lubbert Gnodde, peacefully practices his craft.

"You know it is really unique. It really sounds like something else, like something from another world or something," Gnodde said.

Gnodde, whose name is Dutch, moved to the area in 2010 after falling in love with an American who was studying in Amsterdam. But he is also passionate about the pipe organ. Not only does he play the instrument, he fixes them, as well.

"There is a little deterioration in some of the parts. So, that is what I am doing; I am fixing it up," he explained.

The organ was built in 1984 using traditional techniques. No electricity is needed to make music, just like those of centuries ago. Gnodde met its creator by chance.

"I moved here, and I had no idea there was an organ builder in Pomfret, and we bought a house like five minutes from the shop," Gnodde said.

That shop is an inconspicuous barn in North Pomfret. David Moore has been building pipe organs since he was a teenager. And now, with help from a small staff, he continues to master his trade.

"Some people make pipes, some people do key action, some people do wind chests. It is a wonderful combination of musical things and mechanical things," Moore said.

Moore has restored organs all over the country, including historic pieces like the organ in the Old North Church in Boston. And he also builds new ones. The organ he's working on, when fully completed, will eventually live in a church in Pensacola, Fla. The wood comes from a nearby forest and the keys from ground up cow bone. A work of art just like the older ones he has refurbished.

"In a way there are museum pieces, these old ones from the 1860s or whatever. And there are not very many things that are still around from that period that still get used," Moore said.

But even the newer ones bellow that same big sound.

"There is nothing like playing an organ," Gnodde said. "You are playing and there is a lot of sound coming out of it."

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